Wednesday, September 21, 2016 10:03 pm, Posted by Absolute Destruction
We talk big about the threat of fraud and identity theft and that’s because it consequences are dire. Nearly 15,000 Canadians were victims in 2014. According to the Annual Statistic Report completed by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, these 15,000 cases were responsible for roughly $74 million in defrauded funds. That’s nearly $5,000 per case. While the report outlines fraud’s immediate financial effects, it fails to take into account the emotional fallout of being a victim. It also doesn’t document the time and effort that goes into sorting out compromised finances.
For an issue that can cause such extensive damage, it’s relatively simple to avoid. We’ve collected some of our painless tips to protect your personal information and reduce your chances of ever becoming a victim. The following list is a combination of preventative measures and defensive actions you can take to save your identity.
Document Destruction Our first and most formidable line of defence will be effective document disposal. Without it, important documents and obsolete electronics containing personal information will go in your regular trash where it’s vulnerable to theft. In order to keep the various contact information, financial account numbers, tax records, and documentation of your SIN and OHIP out of the hands of criminals, make sure you take advantage of our mobile shredding services. Our friendly team of vetted shredding professionals will ensure any paper and digital item is utterly destroyed. With a guarantee of both destruction and recycling, it’s the only way to know for sure your information is processed without a chance of recovery.
Clean out Your Wallet Don’t pull a George Constanza — the Seinfeld character who kept his wallet so full of receipts and other cards that it eventually burst. The only things of note your wallet should contain are cash, your licence, and any immediate credit cards you plan to use. Unfortunately, time and time again, we hear of an individual who has their wallet stolen, and with their cash and credit cards, they lose their OHIP, SIN, and other important documents. As a general rule, they shouldn’t be kept in your wallet, where they can be stolen or easily misplaced. Keep these important documents behind at home in a safe place. There’s no reason to keep your SIN or your OHIP on your person, unless you need them to register for a job or visit the doctors.
Be Mindful of Your Finances You should be aware of the activity on your various accounts. By keeping tabs on your chequing, savings, and credit card accounts, you can identify any suspicious purchases or withdrawals. Now that you can access these accounts online, it’s easy to log in and check on your finances at any time you have access to a smartphone or computer. Early detection is better than nothing, giving you an opportunity to cancel any affected accounts immediately and reducing the cost of the theft considerably.
Though simple, these three steps are a sure-fire way to lower you chances of becoming a victim of fraud. As you clear out your wallet and start keeping tabs on your finances, remember to give us a call. Our shredding services are available in one-time purges and regular appointments. Together, we can keep your confidential files out of the hands of thieves.